Exponential growth is the baseline

If declining population growth is a cause of stagnation, how do we solve it?

Solve it? I see declining population growth as God's greatest gift upon humanity of the century - more so than Penicillin and Haber process combined - that at least temporarily staved off a return to a Malthusian world. But if you insist on solving the issue, well, Moloch will take care of that soon enough.

With continued progress, we are not limited by land area and fossil fuels. We are not even limited to planet Earth. We are limited only by the speed of light, the Hubble expansion constant, and the heat death of the universe. If we hit those limits, I’d say humanity had a pretty good run.

That's... not very reassuring? Anything beyond the solar system is completely irrelevant as far as exponential growth is concerned since travel time is so long expanding to the stars won't relieve local population pressure at all. You seem to be analyzing everything in the exponential context except when it comes to resource limits.

Current cryonics impressions

One argument I can think of to sign up for cryonics sooner rather than later is to create social proof for your extended family. The idea of evading death by freezing yourself and awaiting future technology for a cure might be too outlandish for older people to seriously consider, and leading by example might ease that process. And while you perhaps can afford to wait for better procedures or evidence about efficacy of cryonics, your parents/grandparents probably can't.

Intuitions about utilities

I think your example fails to accurately represent your actual values, even worse than the original thought experiment. Nothing in the world can be worth 1000x someone you truly care about, not even all the other people you care about combined. Human brains just can't represent that sort emotional weight. It would have been more useful to think of your sister vs a friend of yours.

But honestly, there is no point even in substituting money for "true utility" in Newcomb's problem, because unlike Prisoner's dilemma, there are no altruism/virtue signaling considerations to interfere with your decision. You genuinely want the money when no ethical conundrum is involved. So maybe just put $500,000 in each box?

What really confuses me about Newcomb's problem is why rationalists think it is important. When is the future so reliably predictable that acausal trades become important, in a universe where probability is engrained in its very fabric AND where chaotic systems are abundant?

I've since played at least one other Prisoner's Dilemma game – this one for team points rather than candy – and I cooperated that time as well. In that situation, we were very explicitly groomed to feel empathy for our partner (by doing the classic '36 questions to fall in love' and then staring into each other's eyes for five minutes), which I think majorly interferes with the utility calculations.

Sounds like the exercise was more about teambuilding than demonstrating Prisoner's dilemma.

Technological stagnation: Why I came around

I agree with your arguments but disagree with your value judgment - why shouldn't digital entertainment be considered progress? What's the point of "physical progress" once people's basic needs are satisfied (which we haven't achieved yet)? If humanity ever becomes a Kardashev III civilization, what would we do with all that matter and energy besides creating digital Disney parks for septillions of immortal souls? What's your vision for humanity's future in the best case?

Matt Levine on "Fraud is no fun without friends."

And that might be great for society. We don't want people working a job primarily because it's fun and they like their coworkers. We want them working a job because they're providing valuable goods and services that meet pre-existing demand.

Who's "we" and who's "society"?

AR Glasses: Much more than you wanted to know

I’d be very interested in hearing arguments why this actually wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

It won't be a big deal because smartphones was not a big deal. People still wake up, go to work, eat, sleep, sit hours in front of a screen - TV, smartphone, AR, who cares. No offense to Steve Jobs, but if the greatest technological achievement of your age is the popularization of the smartphone, exciting is about the last adjective I'd describe it with.

Speaking of Black Mirror, I find the show to be a pretty accurate representation of the current intellectual Zeitgeist (not the future it depicts; I mean the show itself) - pretentious, hollow, lame, desperate to signal profundity through social commentary.

How long till Inverse AlphaFold?

By "bias" I didn't mean biases in the learned model, I meant "the class of proteins whose structures can be predicted by ML algorithms at all is biased towards biomolecules". What you're suggesting is still within the local search paradigm, which might not be sufficient for the protein folding problem in general, any more than it is sufficient for 3-SAT in general. No sampling is dense enough if large swaths of the problem space is discontinuous.

Ideal Chess - drop chess perfected

Thank you for the response, I will definitely check out these variants. I'm trying to understand what sort of simple rules let good, deeply strategic games emerge out of them, and how inventors of such games come up with these ideas.

The next AI winter will be due to energy costs

6 orders of magnitude from FLOPs to bit erasure conversion

Does it take a million bit erasures to conduct a single floating point operation? That seems a bit excessive to me.

Ideal Chess - drop chess perfected

Excellent post!

I would greatly appreciate a follow-up, perhaps compilations of game variants for other popular games such as Go or Poker?

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